Lawmakers Hope to Avoid Showdown over 2012 Spending Bills
While Congress is expected to miss the Oct. 1 deadline for passing fiscal 2012 spending bills, senior members of both parties say they are aiming to complete work on an omnibus spending bill by Nov. 23, the deadline for the joint deficit committee to complete its effort to identify at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts.
If successful, lawmakers would be able to focus on broader policy questions associated with shrinking the nation’s debt and avoid another eleventh-hour showdown over spending, reported CQ Today. Congress would have until Dec. 23 to approve the spending reductions that come out of the congressional super committee before automatic, across-the-board spending cuts go into effect.
Optimism for what would be a relatively rapid conclusion to FY 2012 appropriations primarily stems from last month’s debt ceiling deal, which sets an upper limit on spending. The one hitch is that the $1.043 trillion cap established in the agreement for FY 2012 is $24 billion higher than the level included in the budget resolution passed by the House, creating the likelihood that conservative Republicans in that chamber will resist a quick deal over spending for next year.
Work on a continuing resolution to keep the government running in the new fiscal year is expected to start by the middle of the month.